Hygge Your Family: The Danish Parents' Secret To Raising Happy, Healthy Kids

Think 'winter' and you're probably looking forward to plenty of activities from snowball fights to ice-skating. But winter is also a wonderful season for families to get together and reconnect. With plenty of opportunities for homebound bonding, it's a good time to create some simple, kicked-back memories for your own family.

In a world where childhood can feel like a rat race and schedules win out over downtime, it's a luxury to be able to pull the brakes on all of it and sneak in a few weeks where you can be homebodies. To do that, the Danish have the perfect solution:

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is the Danish trend used to define simple, ordinary moments that are extraordinarily cozy, charming, and special. At its core, it's about spending quality, kicked-back time with the people you love. And it's supposedly why the Danes are the happiest people on earth. 

Hygge is an attitude that focuses on relaxation, indulgence, and gratitude, but most of all it’s about coziness. It’s wholesome and nourishing for the soul and values simple moments with the ones you love. You can find it in simple nooks and crannies, or fill larger spaces with a complete sense of hygge.

According to Iben Sandahl, a Danish parenting expert and author of The Danish Way of Parenting: A Guide to Raising The Happiest Kids in the World, it really doesn't take much. "Light a candle, make some hot chocolate, sit down with your children and give them your full attention,” she explains, "they will feel well stimulated, seen, heard and acknowledged, and that’s something children always benefit from. It fosters an inner peace.”

How Do You Hygge?

Hygge is about creating experiences that bring people together in authentic and meaningful ways. it's about slowing down and giving up FOMO in lieu of quaint, cozy moments. It's really easy to implement but does require intention and effort. To bring a bit of hygge to your household, here are a few steps you can take:

  • Create comfortable meeting places: Little nooks and crannies where your family can get together in an intimate way will allow for closer connections. Whether you use these spaces to play games, read together, or just chat, the comfort and coziness of small spaces will truly bring your family together.
  • Adjust lighting: Similarly, small pockets of warm lighting throughout the house will create an atmosphere of intimacy. Break out the candles or simply lower the lights and you'll be providing a mood that lends itself well to conversation and connection.
  • Unplug the devices: Your phone and other devices are a major source of distraction that divides families. Unplug and keeps screens from taking time away from your loved ones.
  • Be present: This is your time to bond. You're going to want to maximize your time together and focus on your family. Be present. Listen to your kids, ask questions, answer theirs, and just be.
  • Play simple games: Board games are a fun way to bond as a family. It's a low-key way to gather around together where you're all engaged in the same activity.
  • Go through your family albums: Hygge sets the perfect mood for feeling nostalgic. Pull out the baby photos, reminisce over places you've been and things you've done together, and make a tradition out of appreciating all that makes your family yours.
  • Break out the comfy clothes and hot drinks: PJs and slippers, hot chocolate and hot toddies...give into the cozy indulgences that nourish the soul.

Add to the Coziness

If you’re looking for some simple ways to up the cozy of your home and bring in some additional warmth during the winter season, here are some of our favorite products to get you started:

Mmmm… warmth. These chunky-cozy knits from Lutricot, handmade from ultrafine merino wool in Québec, Canada, are so inviting. Whatever the season, you can’t resist the pillowy, fluffy softness of these blankets. Snuggle up on chilliest of nights, fireside, or simply drape it over your family sofa or the foot of your bed for some extra comfort.

You’ve heard of comfort foods, and now there’s comfort dinnerware to go with it. Brilliant! East Fork Pottery’s bread and butter plates are perfect for just that. There’s just something so toasty about these earthy, homey dishes. What’s more, East Fork is a company that cares to ensure all clays and glazes are safe for everyone - babies and puppies included.

Bring the sweet, spicy smells of the woods home with these candles brimming with warm masculinity and a natural outdoorsy scent. These fragrant leather-wrapped candles from BrandIron are handmade in Canada and bring all the coziness of a family camping trip to your home with signature, handcrafted scents like Woods (Patchouli & Cedarwood), Bonfire (Tobacco & Vanilla), Cabin (Sandalwood & Lavender), and Camp (Eucalyptus & Thyme).

These organic cotton tea towels from Copenhagen are sooo luxe! Ferm Living’s sleek modern designs add a touch of mid-century charm to celebrate their Scandinavian heritage and what’s more, they offer a substantial array of kid-friendly products. They have everything from full-sized comforters to these tiny tea towels and they ship worldwide.

We didn’t even know we needed a baguette board until we saw this gorgeous one from Etuhome. Made of 19th century reclaimed wood, these bread baskets are washable (gently clean with soap and water) and so beautiful. Whether used for les petites baguettes or filled to the brim with olives, or carefully displaying luscious figs to dramatic effect, these timber boards warmly invite guests to relax and unwind. The small wooden baguette tray also serves as a statement centerpiece when holding a row of candles or other decorative or festive accents.

Add a tad of couture to your kitchen with this handwoven boxy apron from Food 52. Made in North Carolina, the soft hemp cotton is lightweight and tastefully textured, making it super absorbent as well as stylish. The side pocket is perfectly positioned for stashing spoons and the towel loop at the waist keeps flour sack faves at the ready. You can choose from indigo or natural and blush, both naturally dyed with extra loving care.

Delightful Danish design combined with the newest Nordic trends is what Bloomingville is all about. From their headquarters in Denmark, they design, develop and sell a wide range of interior styles – always keeping an ever-changing home in mind. We love how they combine natural elements and whimsy. Their extensive range of vases and lighting has us smitten – perfect little pieces to bring in some subdued lighting and natural décor.

Peg and Awl offers up pure relaxation with their bathtub caddy made of reclaimed redwood, tung oil, and love. This sweet shelf is recommended for holding candles, a book, or a steaming cup of tea – or whatever you want to have at hand as you soak. Once your bath is done and drained, it can be used to hold towels or other bathroom basics.

What are some of your favorite ways to show off your hygge flair?

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Kirsten Kawasaki
Great, I'm done with my xmas shopping and now I want all of these.
Maya Slavin
I love the wool knit blanket, the scented candles, the apron and the bath caddy.
Abby Stone
One of each for me, please
Nikki Mateo
I love everything in this. HOO-GAH!!!!
Tricia Goss
Yes, please!
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